Entrance Channel Update


Dear Harbor User:

As you know, our coastline continues to be challenged by repetitive winter storms, frequent west swells, and incredibly high surf. The recent atmospheric river event on January 5, 2023, and this week’s stormy conditions and heavy seas continue to challenge the Port District’s dredging operation, as a massive influx of sand has been deposited in the harbor entrance. 

Prior to the onslaught of the recent storm and swell events, controlling depths in the harbor entrance were approximately 22’ at MLLW. Due to the repetitive storms and associated runoff, the harbor entrance is currently experiencing a higher than normal rate of shoaling, and extremely shallow conditions exist. Mariners are advised to not transit the entrance at this time for their safety and the safety of their vessel. 

As the forecast for the end of this week calls for another significant swell event, the Port District’s dredge crew is prepared to work as long and hard as they safely can (and as our regulatory permits allow) to address the shoaling. The crew's work schedule will be extended to include additional dredge days in an effort to restore the safety and navigability of the channel.

An updated sounding has been posted to the District’s website. Frequent updates will be provided as the crew works to restore depths.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. 

Holland MacLaurie

Port Director

January 10, 2023

Did you know?

Each swell event can deposit upwards of 23,000 cubic yards of sediment into the entrance, which is equivalent to filling an entire football field 10 feet high with sand.

Santa Cruz Harbor entrance channel shoaling at low tide on January 8, 2023.

(Brighton Aerial Photography)